|Publication number||US7735921 B2|
|Application number||US 11/953,062|
|Publication date||Jun 15, 2010|
|Filing date||Dec 9, 2007|
|Priority date||Dec 12, 2006|
|Also published as||CN101311029A, CN101311029B, CN201169218Y, DE102007059667A1, DE102007059667B4, DE102007063574A1, DE102007063574B4, DE102007063746B4, US7862117, US8087725, US8317265, US20080136232, US20080136234, US20100237672, US20110074193|
|Publication number||11953062, 953062, US 7735921 B2, US 7735921B2, US-B2-7735921, US7735921 B2, US7735921B2|
|Inventors||James M. F. Hutchinson, Robert E. Haut, Ryan N. Miller|
|Original Assignee||Wonderland Nurserygoods Co., Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (19), Referenced by (6), Classifications (19), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims domestic priority on U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/874,392, filed on Dec. 12, 2006, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates generally to a car seat for use in transporting children in an automobile, and, more particularly, to a car seat positionable on an independent base member in either a front-facing or a rear-facing orientation.
Car safety seats for children are commercially available in a many configurations corresponding to differences in the age, weight, and size of the child being transported. Parents can choose a car seat that is not only the correct size, but also suits their tastes, budget, and life style. As children grow in size and maturity level, they need different kinds of car seats. For example, a child may initially use a rearwardly facing infant car seat, then graduate to a forward facing toddler seat with an integrated harness, and finally to a belt positioning booster seat utilizing the vehicle's lap and shoulder belt system before being able to safely use the vehicle's seat belts alone.
There are many car seats on the market that can be used in multiple configurations. For instance, a forward facing car seat with an integral harness appropriate for a 20-40 pound child might accommodate a child weighing 30-100 pounds as a belt positioning booster seat with the removal of the harness and utilizing the vehicle's lap and shoulder belts. This is convenient for the care giver because it means fewer seats to purchase. Some parents choose to buy a belt positioning booster seat for their older child. Such a booster seat may be configured with a high back, such as is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,682,143, granted to Davis Amirault on Jan. 27, 2004, or can have no back at all. Older children who don't want to be seen sitting in a “baby seat” like this option and parents don't have to manage a big bulky car seat.
Currently available car seats typically have a monolithic shell, i.e. the back and seat cannot be used separately. Some car seats are designed to have a no back base option, but are configured as a separate seat fastened under the monolithic seat and back, such as is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,754,999, issued on Jul. 5, 1998, to James Kain. The problem with this configuration is the redundancy of seats; one as part of the monolithic shell, and one as a seat only.
The basic purpose of a child's car seat is to protect the child in case the vehicle in which the car seat is mounted is involved in a crash event. Protecting the child involves limiting excursion and controlling the forces exerted on the child from the vehicle undergoing a crash event. Improper installation of a car seat is a major factor in a loss of protection for the child. If the car seat requires a complicated or complex belt path along which the vehicle seat belt is positioned to secure the car seat to the vehicle seat, the likelihood that the car seat will be properly installed is diminished. A belt path for the vehicle seat belt that is more visible and easier to access will increase the likelihood that the car seat will have a tight, proper installation.
During the first year of the life of a baby, the child should be positioned in a car seat in a manner to be facing rearwardly. When the child is over a year old, the child can be placed in the car seat in a manner that the child is facing forwardly. Presently known car seats require a remounting of the car seat and a repositioning of the vehicle seat belt to accomplish this conversion in orientation or the substitution of a different and larger car seat. Each time the car seat is reconfigured or moved from one vehicle to another, a new opportunity to improperly mount the car seat on the vehicle seat is presented, which can be aggravated by a non-intuitive, complicated belt path for mounting the car seat.
Many child car seats provide options for reclining the seat relative to the vehicle seat on which the car seat is mounted. Most known child car seats require a readjustment of the vehicle seat belt when changes are made to the recline orientation of the car seat. Readjusting the vehicle seat belt is an inconvenience to the person making the recline adjustment and provides an additional opportunity for the car seat to become improperly installed, which would not provide the optimum safety for the child positioned within the car seat.
It would also be desirable to provide a child car seat that has a base part that is separable from the seat part so that the base member could be installed in a position that would not need changing, even though the seat member could be repositioned on the base member, or the recline position of the seat member would be adjusted. It would be further desirable that the seat portion be configurable in either the forward-facing orientation or the rear-facing orientation as selected.
It is an object of this invention to provide a car seat for transporting children in an automobile that can be reversed from a rear-facing orientation to a forward-facing orientation without dismounting the car seat from the vehicle seat.
It is another object of this invention to provide a base member that is separable from the seat member so that the base member can remain secured to the vehicle seat irrespective of the orientation of the seat member on the base member.
It is a feature of this invention that the base member is independent from the seat member to permit the base member to remain secured to the vehicle seat while the seat member is reconfigured.
It is an advantage of this invention that the seat member can be placed on the independent base member in either a rear-facing orientation or a forward-facing orientation.
It is another advantage of this invention that the seat member can be placed into a selected recline position without requiring the car seat to be remounted to the vehicle seat.
It is another feature of this invention that the base member is formed with upper and lower recline slots to guide the positioning of the seat member through the various selectable recline positions.
It is still another feature of this invention that the base member is formed with a central recline rack that is engagable with a recline bar on the seat member to lock the seat member in a selected recline position.
It is still another advantage of this invention that the rear-facing seat member can be positioned in one of a plurality of selectable positions to orient the seat member in a desired reclined orientation to accommodate differently configured vehicle seats.
It is yet another feature of this invention that the seat member is secured to the base member by retractable latch pins that are engaged with the upper and lower recline slots.
It is yet another advantage of this invention that the car seat can be used to transport a child from an infant size to a maximum size required to be transported within a car seat without requiring the base member to be disconnected from the vehicle seat.
It is still another advantage of this invention that the vehicle seat belt is easily secured to the base member through a highly visible and intuitive path that will encourage proper mounting of the car seat.
It is still another feature of this invention that the vehicle seat belt is passed through one side opening in the base member across a latch member and through an opposing side opening in the base member to secure the base member to the vehicle seat.
It is yet another feature of this invention that the seat member can be utilized with multiple base members installed in respective vehicles.
It is yet another advantage of this invention that the concept of having multiple car seats for use in different vehicles can be accomplished by purchasing multiple base members, but only one seat member.
It is yet another object of this invention to provide a reversible car seat having a base member separable from a seat member, which is durable in construction, inexpensive of manufacture, carefree of maintenance, facile in assemblage, and simple and effective in use.
These and other objects, features and advantages are accomplished according to the instant invention by providing a car seat having a seat member on which the child is transported and a separable base member that is mounted to the vehicle seat via the vehicle seat belt or latch anchor which is passed through side openings in the base member and trapped in a belt latch apparatus to secure the base member to the vehicle seat. The seat member is mounted on the base member in either a forward-facing orientation or a rear-facing orientation. The base member includes a pair of upper and lower recline slots that receive latch pins securing the seat member to the base member. A recline apparatus carried by the seat member engages a central control rack on the base member to lock the seat member in a selected recline position. In the rear-facing position, the seat member is positionable in different orientations to compensate for the angle at which the vehicle seat is formed.
The advantages of this invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed disclosure of the invention, especially when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
Referring now to
The base member is formed with a central rack member 25 having a plurality of parallel, horizontally disposed notches 26 to receive the recline latch apparatus 33, which include a transverse bar 33 a that rests in one of the notches 26, on the seat member 30 to change the position of the seat member 30 on the base member 20. The base member is also formed with two pairs of opposing recline control slots 27, 28 into which retractable latch pins 61, 62 are engagable to secure the seat member 30 to the base member 20. The lower recline control slots 27 are positioned at a forward portion of the base member 20 and are oriented generally horizontally. The upper recline control slots 28 are located at a rearward portion of the base member 20, but are oriented at an inclined angle compared to the lower recline control slots 27. As a result, the rearward portion of the seat member 30 will lower as the forward portion of the seat member 30 moves forwardly to create a reclined orientation for the seat member 30. The upright configuration of the seat member 30, corresponding to the latch pins 61, 62 being positioned in the rearwardmost portions of the recline control slots 27, 28, is shown in
The seat member 30 can be mounted onto the base member 20 in either a forward-facing orientation, such as is depicted in
As seen in
The lock mechanism 40 includes a pair of laterally spaced guide members 46 that define openings 47 that are oriented generally horizontally. The guide member 46 controls the position of the harness belt 50 relative to the shoulders of the child seated in the car seat 10 and raises and lowers in response to the position of the lock mechanism 40 and the attached head rest 35. Thus, when the head rest 35 is raised along the curved track 36, the guide members 46 move accordingly and position the harness belt 50 to pass from behind the curved seat back 32 through openings in the seat back 32 to the front of the seat back 32 for engagement with the child seated on the car seat 10.
The harness support apparatus 45 includes a fixed guide bar 49 mounted within the seat back 32 above the control rack 38. The harness belt 50 is trapped in a conventional length adjustment device 52 at the lower front portion of the seat member 30. From the length adjustment device 52, the harness belt 50 passes underneath the seat portion of the seat member 30 and through the structure of the seat member 30 behind the seat back 32 and the control rack 38 to the fixed guide bar 49. The harness belt 50 loops over the fixed guide bar 49 and passes downwardly to the lock mechanism 40 behind the lock bar 42 and then through the guide members 46 to exit through the outlet openings 47 to extend to the front of the seat back 32. The harness belt 50 is secured to the seat member 30 in a conventional manner. The use of the fixed guide bar 49 secured to the frame of the seat back 32 provides an opportunity to use a metal rod that will increase the resistance of the harness belt 50 to pull out of the car seat 10 during crash events. Furthermore, the amount of bending of the fixed guide rod 49 can be used to evaluate the stresses incurred during a crash event and provide a positive indicator that a car seat 10 has been subjected to a crash event.
Referring now to
As is best seen in
Referring now to
The rear-facing orientation of the seat member 30 exploded relative to the base member 20 is shown in
The forwardmost portion of the seat member 30 where the recline handle 34 is located is received within a generally vertical position control rack 65 which helps to stabilize the mounting of the seat member 30 in the rear-facing orientation. Similarly, the shell of the seat member 30 includes a hub 67 that forms a generally downwardly extending projection that is received within a forward socket 68 formed in the base member 20 above the lower recline slot 27 when the seat member 30 is in the rear-facing orientation, as is shown in
One skilled in the art will recognize that the base member 20 is formed with a rigid and sturdy frame 21, preferably formed from tubular steel to provide a suitable base member 20 that can be retained on the vehicle seat 15 irrespective of the orientation of the seat member 30 when mounted thereon. The steel frame 21 enables the base member 20 to withstand substantial forces as a result of a vehicle crash event. Furthermore, the seat member is formed with a cutout 70 that facilitates the passage of the vehicle seat belt when the seat member 30 is used without the base member 20 as a booster seat for an older and larger child. The cutout 70 enables the passage of the vehicle seat belt around the child seated in the seat member when in a booster seat configuration to strap the child to the vehicle seat in a conventional manner.
Providing an intuitive and easy to follow, visible path for the installation of the vehicle seat belt on the base member, i.e. passing the vehicle seat belt through the two side openings 22 in the base member 20 and securing the seat belt on a latch member 23, allows the base member 20 to be installed on the vehicle seat 15 in a proper manner. Once the base member 20 has been installed, the base member does not need to be dismounted from the vehicle due to recline adjustments or reorientation of the seat member, unless the base member is going to be installed into another vehicle. Even then, the parent needs only to purchase multiple base members 20 to provide a convenient means by which the seat member 30 can be moved from vehicle to vehicle without requiring the disconnection of a base member 20 from the car seat. Thus, parents can have the convenience of having multiple car seats without purchasing multiple seat members 30.
It will be understood that changes in the details, materials, steps and arrangements of parts which have been described and illustrated to explain the nature of the invention will occur to and may be made by those skilled in the art upon a reading of this disclosure within the principles and scope of the invention. The foregoing description illustrates the preferred embodiment of the invention; however, concepts, as based upon the description, may be employed in other embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||297/256.14, 297/256.16, 297/256.13|
|International Classification||B60N2/26, A47D1/10|
|Cooperative Classification||B60N2/2821, B60N2/2872, B60N2/2851, B60N2/2863, B60N2/286, B60N2/2875, B60N2/2806|
|European Classification||B60N2/28T, B60N2/28P4, B60N2/28B2, B60N2/28C, B60N2/28S, B60N2/28P2, B60N2/28H|
|Dec 9, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WONDERLAND NURSERYGOODS CO., LTD., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HUTCHINSON, JAMES M. F.;HAUT, ROBERT E.;MILLER, RYAN N.;REEL/FRAME:020217/0596
Effective date: 20071206
Owner name: WONDERLAND NURSERYGOODS CO., LTD.,TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HUTCHINSON, JAMES M. F.;HAUT, ROBERT E.;MILLER, RYAN N.;REEL/FRAME:020217/0596
Effective date: 20071206
|Oct 21, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4